“Let’s move on to the lyrical section,” clarinetist Michael Yoshimi said with a chuckle to his two collaborators, abandoning a frantic and virtuosic passage of ascending and descending scales and arpeggios. It was their first rehearsal of Mendelssohn’s Concertpiece No. 1, which Michael will perform with Javier Morales Martinez in their first appearance together as colleagues after five years as teacher and student.
“It’s a fun piece and not too hard… usually,” Michael laughed. The piece is one of several on his September 8 faculty recital, also featuring pianist Hui Wu. Other composers represented include heavy hitters like Bernstein, Schumann, Debussy, along with Widor, a lesser-known Romantic period Frenchman, and the Hungarian clarinetist Béla Kovács.
When asked why he picked Javier to perform with, he had a quick answer: “he’s famous!” Indeed, with numerous competition wins, radio appearances, and more, Javier has had an eventful couple of years. This year, he is one of just four freshmen at USC’s Thornton School of Music studying with Michael’s own former teacher Yehuda Gilad, who also teaches in the Colburn Conservatory of Music and whose studios at both schools are among the most sought-after in the world.
Michael also hopes other young artists will draw some inspiration from the performance. “I thought it would be fun, plus if students come to the recital they can see someone who just graduated and is doing really well.”
“It’s really fun now that we can really play together,” added Javier. “I’m not his student anymore, so it’s more of a collaborative relationship.”
As the musicians continued to rehearse, they moved on to a slower, more expressive portion of the work. Michael and Javier blended while maintaining their distinctive voices, and their deep understanding of one another’s sound was palpable.
Hear Michael perform Bernstein, Schumann, Debussy, and more, including Mendelssohn’s Concertpiece with Javier, in his faculty recital on September 8.